Educational Deficiencies Recognized by Independent Practice Dental Hygienists and their Suggestions for Change

Courtney E. Vannah, Martha McComas, Melanie V Taverna, Beatriz Hicks, Rebecca Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to determine the perceived level of preparedness Maine Independent Practice Dental Hygienists (IPDHs) received from their standard undergraduate dental hygiene education, and recognize areas necessary for further preparation in order to explore careers beyond the private practice dental model.

METHODS: A convenience sample of 6 IPDHs participated in a survey exploring their educational experience in public health and alternative practice settings. The survey also asked for their recommendations to advance dental hygiene education to meet the needs of those wishing to pursue alternative practice careers.

RESULTS: This study found that participants felt underprepared by their dental hygiene education with deficits in exposure to public health, business skills necessary for independent practice, communication training and understanding of situations which require referral for treatment beyond the IPDH scope of practice.

CONCLUSION: As the dental hygiene profession evolves, dental hygiene education must as well. The IPDH participants' recommendations for dental hygiene programs include increased exposure to alternative settings and underserved populations as well as elective courses for those students interested in alternative practice and business ownership.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)373-379
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of dental hygiene : JDH
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014


  • alternative practice
  • dental hygiene education
  • dental public health
  • independent practice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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